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The animation power couple Rubber House have just released their new music video for Gotye.

I lent a tiny helping hand in  animating  the clip. While my role was minuscule  it did give a great insight into the talented duo that run the studio. I caught up with the Greg Sharp and Ivan Dixon earlier this week so that they could share some thoughts on making the clip.

Rubber House visit Annecy

OZ: So you made a lot of this clip while you were in Europe as part of the British Council’s Realise your Dream initiative. How was your trip? Did it open any doors for you?

RH: It was a couple of weeks before we were about to leave for Europe when we got the call from Wally asking us to do a third video. You don’t say no to Gotye! So we had to figure out a way to make it work in between our travels and meetings. We got to hang out with some of our favourite animators and illustrators in London, such as Animade, the crew of The Amazing World Of Gumball, I Love Dust, Passion Pictures, Nexus and Mcbess to name a few. The real highlight, however, was attending Annecy Animation Festival in France where we were in official selection, where we met a lot of incredible animators such as the boys from CRCREmma De Swaef, Issac KingThierno Bah, Eric Oh,Loupe Druelle.

Working on the road isn’t something animators have to do very often, what was it like making the film clip like that?

We didn’t have any of the perks of being at home– the obvious studio stuff like only having portable equipment, not having reliable internet and even something as simple as a desk was hard to procure at times. Then there’s the less obvious stuff we missed, like our partners, our social network and knowing where to get good coffee (a difficult task in parts London). We were probably working more hours than we did back home due to a combination of these issues.

OZ: For a lot of your previous jobs you’ve been able to do most of the work yourselves. This video saw you collaborate with a few people on the animation. How was that for you?

RH: It was a lot to do with time. Once we pitched our concept to Wally and got his sign off (a nerve racking midnight Skype session) we only had about a month to design, animate and composite a 4:40 minute video. However we also saw this as an opportunity to collaborate with a few of our favourite artists, some of whom we met in Annecy and London- like French animator Jérémy Pires from CRCR and yourself Alex Grigg. We used some old favourites from Melbourne, namely animator Pete Lowey, loop master Neil Sanders and NZ illustrator Gavin Mouldey– who we originally met on Dogstar. We also reached out to American cartoonist Marlo Meekins, who had drawn a flattering caricature of Wally which caught his attention. Ivan had been a fan of her for a long time and saw this as a chance to get her on board.

OZ: What was it like responding to an instrumental track? Did you have to approach it differently to your previous clips?

RH:It was a completely different challenge. With State of the Art and Don’t Worry, We’ll Be Watching You we had lyrics and vocals to work with, but with the new track all we had was the title and the tone of the music itself to inform the narrative. So we set out outlining all the different tonal shifts and crafting a story around them. We interpreted the title as referring to some sort of co-dependent relationship, which got us thinking about symbiotic relationships within the animal kingdom. So naturally this led to making a clip about a sexually confused elephant and her overbearing crow lover boy.

OZ: Since you last worked with Wally he has enjoyed incredible world wide success. Normally I’d think that would mean having to rein in promotional material because of pressure from Record labels and promoters. Did you feel any pressures like that moving into the project?

RH: To be honest, reigning it in never really crossed our minds. To his credit Wally seems to put a lot of trust in the artists he collaborates with. So once we got his thumbs up on the concept we had all we needed to go crazy with it. We were certainly aware that a lot of people would be seeing the video, whether it be online or during his stage shows where he projects them, so we tried to push things further in terms of production values– painting up the backgrounds with more details and texture.

OZ: While you were over here you showed me loads of really neat projects you’re part way through. Are there projects on your plate right now that you can talk about?

We’ve got no shortage of ideas, it’s true! We’re developing a couple of interactive projects with the aid of Film Victoria. One of which should be coming out by the end of the year. It’s an arcade style game for mobile devices called “Groom Me” where the aim of the game is to groom the back of a great big Orang Utan for ticks, lice and other juicy bites.


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